Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm a Mystery to My Husband

Guest author Susan Konig joins us today.

I was trying to arrange an evening to meet with a group of residents in my town. We threw a few dates around. “How about next Thursday?” someone suggested.

“Isn’t that the 14th, Valentine’s Day?”

“It is, and I can be there,” said a mom of three young boys. “We’re not doing anything special.”

I laughed and understood. My husband and I hadn’t made any plans either. Was it because we had four kids?

One of the senior citizens weighed in. “I have to take my wife out to dinner,” he said firmly. “So, let’s see, dinner at six, home by seven. I’m available at 7:05.”

Sad, but true. This group of marrieds, young and old, were not the target audience to be whooping it up on Valentine’s Day.

Just as well. I do not make it easy on my husband. I get very irritated when he swears he is not getting anything for me and then caves to the pressure of all the other husbands riding on the commuter train home with boxes of chocolates and huge bouquets of flowers.

He arrives in our town and the florist who plans her fiscal year around men like him is waiting for him. Sure, he passed up vendors in the city selling for $40, $50 bucks a bunch. Now that he is steps away from our idling minivan full of cranky kids and shedding dog – not to mention stressed-out wife – he has no choice but to hand this woman $60 to save his rear end on this special day.

The purchase hurts financially but he feels as though he has done something good and noble by following the pack.

He hands me the overpriced blooms and I smirk. “What did you pay for these?"

I don’t want him spending all that money when he could have probably picked up a dozen perfectly acceptable tulips a day earlier for $10.

He doesn’t know that what I really want him to do is offer to watch the kids for an entire day or evening so I can go off and exercise or shop or think or write without interruption.

If I told him that’s what I want, he would swear up and down that he offers that all the time and I always turn him down. He’d be half right.

Sometimes he comes home from work after hanging out with his friends for a little while and working out to find me completely at the end of my rope as a wife, mother, and housekeeper (OK, I don’t really ever keep house).

He will say to me, “That’s it. Get out of here. Go, you’re off duty.” Sounds great, no? Except that there is no food for the kids and the baby needs a bath and he doesn’t know how to help our sixth grader with his math and American Idol is on and he won’t understand the staggered bedtime schedule of who has to go to bed when.

So I don’t go out and then I am even crankier. I guess I need him to come home with a bag of sandwiches and a plan. He tells me that if he’s home with the kids, he gets to watch them his way. But if I let him, I come home to weeping tales of “Daddy didn’t let us watch American Idol because YOU DIDN’T TELL HIM.”

I may get out of the house but I’m the bad guy when I return. Hardly worth it.

So he can’t plan and I’m no fun.

Another husband told me this week that he and his wife don’t make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day because every day is Valentine’s Day for them. Oh, please. I’d rather be grumpy and misunderstood one day a year and normal the rest of the time.

Susan Konig

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